Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettHezki Baruch

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett believes that Israel's conduct vis-à-vis the regime in Tehran could bring Iran closer to re-signing a stricter nuclear deal, one that Israel can live with.

In an interview with The Economist published on Wednesday, Bennett said that Iran’s economy is in such dire need of relief from sanctions that if America plays tough it may be able to strike a deal that freezes Iran’s nuclear development indefinitely, without the “sunset clauses” of the original pact, whereby curbs on Iran lapse after a time.

Israel, according to Bennett, seeks to outspend Iran in its weapons programs and outmatch it in technology—in the hope of bankrupting it.

On Israel’s fight against Iranian terror, Bennett said, “We are implementing the Octopus Doctrine. We no longer play with the tentacles, with Iran’s proxies: we’ve created a new equation by going for the head.”

While Bennett stuck to Israel’s official line that it does not directly take responsibility for any specific operation in Iran, he told The Economist he is convinced that “the Iranians are much more timid than you think” when it comes to reacting to Israeli audacity.

The Economist noted that Bennett’s coalition is coming apart at the seams, has lost its majority in the Knesset, and its components agree on very little.

Bennett admitted there is little he can do to stop his government from disintegrating, bar an appeal to his partners “not to fall off track, back into the chaos of elections”. Still, he said he hopes to “continue for another month, and then another”. At least, he claimed, “We’ve shown Israel how a normal country looks for the past year.”